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Two men in an mma gym in westwood nj performing a triangle choke

MMA Gyms In Bergen County NJ: Get In Shape With Our Beginner Friendly MMA training classes

If you want to live life to the fullest, relieve stress, and feel your absolute best, you already know exercise is not optional ... it's essential. So why settle for a boring, monotonous workout that feels like a chore? Instead, why not go to an mma gym and make your fitness routine exciting, invigorating and fun? Why not choose mma training for a total-body strength and cardio workout that also trains you to be an excellent fighter? Whether you want to own the skills of street self-defense, or you want to become an amateur or pro MMA fighter, you'll love what we have in store for you here in our Training Grounds Jiu-Jitsu & MMA beginner friendly mma classes.

Girl with gloves on punching a mitt at an mma class

Are You Bored Going To The Gym? MMA Classes Get You In Fighting Shape!

Whatever your age, background or fitness level, you'll learn: how to stay out of range of strikes and kicks (and block them when you have to), how to safely close the distance between yourself and an attacker or opponent, how to safely take the fight to the ground and how to control and submit your opponent without injury. Of course, you'll also know how to inflict devastating injury with the slightest movement if you have to (even on bigger, stronger guys). How is this possible? Simple. The techniques you'll learn in our mma classes are based on efficiency and leverage. This lets you put your opponent into compromising positions that you direct and control with minimal strength or effort. Of course, you'll still be sweating bullets ... developing speed, strength, killer abs and insane endurance. Your fighting effectiveness and results go through the roof when you apply what we teach you.

two men in class doing mma training while one of them tries to escape a choke from the back

MMA Training Makes You Feel Invincible And Super Confident!

Words can't fully describe the feeling you get from mma classes. With our MMA training program, your confidence and ability to handle stress skyrocket. The challenges and obstacles you encounter at home, at work and in social situations won't feel like such a big deal. Life becomes much easier on you. Your MMA training will bring you closer to feeling like super hero than anything you'll ever experience. Fear and intimidation all but vanish from your life. And even if you tell no one else about it ... to be able to tell yourself “I am an MMA fighter” is pretty cool!

two men in white uniforms training together at an mma class in westwood nj

Why You Should Train MMA In Bergen County?

Two important facts make a Mixed Martial Arts school a smart choice for self defense: 95% of fights end up on the ground, but... 100% of fights start on the feet The Training Grounds Jiu-Jitsu & MMA program covers all your bases by combining effective striking/kicking standing arts with the proven ground fighting skills of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in separate classes. This training program will transform you into an incredible fighter very quickly. And it doesn't matter how big, small, strong, or weak you are. MMA is for everyone!

a student in a black rash guard watching an instructor perform the move in class surrounded by students

Mixed Martial Arts Classes Are Fun And Mentally Stimulating

Training mma is like playing a chess game with your body. It’s not about brute strength. It’s geared towards those who want to “think” with their bodies and want to develop an instinctual set of movements and reflexes that become as natural as breathing. This game has rewards that far outweigh many others including self confidence, a toned body, and being able to walk with pride. Not to mention it's incredibly fun, especially when you are surrounded by a group of supportive teammates.

mixed martial art instructor in white uniform teaching his class an armbar

Our MMA School Has World Class MMA Instruction

Our head instructor received his black belt from Ralph Gracie (of the Gracie family who created Gracie Jiu-Jitsu) and our main emphasis is on practicing a style of BJJ that is highly effective in both real world self defense situations and also at the highest level of competition. You probably already know that Jiu-Jitsu is at the core of virtually all top pro MMA athlete's training. And even if you never compete in MMA, you can be assured you're getting pro-level MMA instruction to quickly develop and refine your MMA skills.

Instructor demonstrating a move in front of his mixed martial arts class

Organized Mixed Martial Arts Training Curriculum

We'll teach you the techniques of mixed martial arts in a organized step-by-step mixed martial arts training curriculum that allows you to learn faster and retain more than other academies. Our intelligently designed MMA program can shave months or years off your progress and make you a better fighter in less time. You'll have the opportunity to go from white belt to black belt with your techniques firmly rooted in place, knowing the you earned your achievements every step of the way.. Come FEEL what it's like to train MMA in Bergen County at one of the top MMA gyms in nj today and see why we have been rated the #1 martial arts gym in Bergen County by “Bergen Health And Life” magazine and have been featured numerous times in (201) magazine.

two men on the ground laughing and shaking hands before an mma training match

A Mixed Martial Arts Gym Is A Great Way To Make Great Friends

At our mma training gym it’s about much more than the mma techniques or workout. It's about becoming part of a group of mixed martial artists who are working together towards a common set of goals. Our students are incredibly helpful and supportive and oftentimes develop friendships that go far beyond the gym. We love doing community events with each other and supporting each other in our training!

instructor correcting the form of two women training together at an mma class in westwood nj

Unmatched Personal Attention

Many mma gyms in nj have instructors that get a class started, then sit on the sidelines while you stumble through the moves (often cementing the WRONG techniques into your game). Not here. We have a passion for teaching and enjoy helping students reach their goals. Each class has multiple instructors to ensure you get the top-notch MMA instruction and personal attention you deserve.

two men shaking hands before training together

Feel The Stress Melt Away When You Train MMA

Life can be stressful sometimes and stress is horrible for your health, both mentally and physically. MMA training is a great stress reliever because it forces you to be present in the moment. You don’t have time to think about the past or future, just what’s going on in front of you. It's important to have an outlet for all the pent up stress and anxiety that life can bring so that it doesn’t affect your work and relationships. Your your family will thank you for doing it!!

two students sitting against a wall in an mma gym smiling after a hard class

Friendly Welcoming Atmosphere

We're NOT a “throw you to the wolves” academy like most mma gyms in NJ. We pride ourselves on a relaxed, cooperative environment, where everyone can learn comfortably at their own pace. Every instructor and student maintains a high level of respect for one another. Besides, we do not tolerate bad attitudes or aggressive behavior. I promise you're going to feel comfortable here at Training Grounds, even if you've never experienced a day of mixed martial arts training in your life.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need prior experience in MMA to start?

No experience is required. Our Foundations mma classes assume you have no prior mma training.

What kind of equipment do I need?

Mixed martial arts is the combination of brazilian jiu-jitsu, wrestling, and kickboxing. For kickboxing you need 16oz gloves and wraps. For bjj you need a jiu jitsu gi and also no gi attire like a rash guard and shorts.

As a beginner, do I need to spar?

There is no sparring as a beginner. It's important for people who are new to mma training to first spend a lot of time drilling and doing positional training to understand the mma techniques before they start engaging in live sparring.

How effective is MMA for real world self defense?

MMA is the combination of BJJ, Kickboxing, And Wrestling. No other combination of arts has been shown to work as well in mixed martial arts competition or real world self defense.

My main priority is fitness. Can I expect to lose weight and gain muscle when training MMA?

Yes absolutely. MMA training engages your whole body and burns calories as it pushes your body to the max. Combined with a healthy diet you should expect to lose fat and develop a toned muscular physique.

Do I need to be in shape before I start training MMA?

No. The beginner mma program assumes that you have no prior experience. You’ll be able to take part in fun classes that will push you to develop sport specific cardio, strength, and flexibility a a byproduct of your mma training vs running on a treadmill or lifting weights.


Secure your spot & get started today with our EXCLUSIVE online offer!

  • UFC fighter ryan hall at a UFC press conference saying he loves the instruction at Training Grounds Jiu-Jitsu & MMA

    “Professor Wil is highly skilled at both training and teaching Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.”
    - Ryan Hall
    Ultimate Fighter Winner

  • Elvin Ramirez In His Jiu-Jitsu Uniform Smiling

    “The atmosphere is one of teamwork, camaraderie and just a real sense of fun and growth.”
    - Elvin Ramirez

  • a school teacher with his wife smiling after his bjj class

    “I feel myself growing not just as a mma practitioner but also as a person.”
    - Tim McDermott

  • tom Raimondi

    “I get a great feeling from the school because everyone is looking to help each other out. I feel like I am 18 again.”
    - Tom Raimondi

  • physician paul gaglio surfing in the ocean before he trains mma for self defense in westwood nj

    “The "Foundations" program which I am participating in has allowed me to learn a new martial arts skill set, lose weight, increase my flexibility both physically and mentally.”
    - Paul Gaglio
    Head Of Liver Transplant Surgery

  • Chelsea training women’s martial arts in westwood

    “Training Grounds has better equipped me to defend myself. The confidence I have gained is backed by a solid skill set that won’t let me down when I need it most.”
    - Chelsea Martinez

    Alex with his wife at a baseball game before coming to class says he has learned more at our mma gym in westwood than his previous one
    Alex Yeaw

    I started my time here 8 months ago. In that short amount of mma training I have learned so much. I came from another academy as a blue belt and I can tell you that this academy has a very strong curriculum in both the beginner and advanced mma programs. It will teach you mma so that you can actually use it to defend yourself as opposed to just sport. I have thoroughly enjoyed every class that I have attended and have loved making new friends here. Thank you Professor Wil and to all of the other coaches for making this such an inviting place to train.
    Westwood, NJ

    mike mcwilliams in his army uniform before he was a student
    Mike McWilliams

    Training Grounds Jiu-Jitsu & MMA is absolutely phenomenal. I have been to many mma gyms in nj and none have the culture and atmosphere that this one does which greatly aids in learning mma. There is a reason why there are so many good reviews online for this gym. Their advanced students do great in competitions but are humble and approachable. Training Grounds isn’t just an amazing mma gym with great coaches and friendly students it’s a place you go to learn life skills have that applications far outside it’s walls. One thing to note is that while the academy name is Training Grounds Jiu-Jitsu & MMA, their mixed martial arts emphasis is on street self defense vs only sport. For example with takedowns they never drop to their knee because you would break your knee on concrete. Things like that are small distinctions that make a big difference.
    Hillsdale, NJ

    tim credeur at a ufc press conference saying the best mma in bergen county is at training grounds
    Tim Credeur

    My name is Tim Credeur and I am a 5 time UFC Veteran and Ultimate Fighter Finalist. I have been training and doing MMA for 18 years now. I've been working with Wil for a couple of years now. Wil's dedication to the art, to teaching and giving the highest quality of MMA is unprecedented in your area as he is one of the best instructors on the east coast. If you are looking to do MMA in bergen county, Training Grounds Jiu-Jitsu & MMA in NJ is exactly where you should be training.
    Tim Credeur
    UFC Fighter

    Alberto crane
    Alberto Crane

    My name is Alberto Crane. I am a UFC veteran, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt and World Champion. Wil Horneff is awesome. His Jiu Jitsu is awesome. He's a Pan American champion, and a great competitor. But most importantly he is a really gifted teacher, very patient and able to really communicate how to learn mma to new students. Sometimes it's hard to find a Professor like that. If you want to get good at mma and you live in bergen county, he's the man.
    UFC Fighter
    World Champion

    Daniel is an army soldier and is pictured in his army uniform
    Daniel Viera

    Like most people I regularly went to a gym to get in shape but needed something different to make me more consistent. Going to an mma gym I was a bit hesitant at first to join because you hear about people getting roughed up at places or treated like an outsider. But man this was really far from the truth at Training Grounds. I signed up after a couple classes. I was welcomed with open arms in a mixed martial arts environment by Professor Wil and the rest of the staff. He really has a desire to share his passion for mixed martial arts with everyone. Classes are full of students that are humble, eager to learn and most of all helpful. If you are on the fence about it, don’t hesitate I really wish I joined sooner. I would have been a purple belt by now lol
    Haworth, NJ

    Eugene park sparring in the mma classes
    Eugene Park

    Professor Wil is one of the top coaches on the east coast. I can say this because I have trained at numerous mma gyms in Bergen and Rockland counties. He actually spars with his students in a helpful way so that they can learn, always giving pointers on technical questions. During the mma practice he is always meticulous about making sure everybody understands the moves and that their form is correct. He demonstrates the moves as many times as you need it and is always open to questions. With a top coach, great students, and friendly staff training grounds jiu jitsu and mma is definitely one of the top mma gyms in new jersey. If that’s what you are looking for you should give it a try.
    Norwood, NJ

    stephen harvey and his wife
    Stephen Harvey

    This was my first experience with training mma and it was a really good one at that. When I came in everyone introduced themselves to me and made me feel comfortable trying something a bit out of my comfort zone. Professor Wil is very knowledgeable and does a really good job with communicating and providing feedback on what you are doing. There is zero intimidation and it feels like everyone is working towards a common goal of getting better at mixed martial arts. There are a lot of really talented people here at Jiu-Jitsu so it seems like the best of both worlds for both the more advanced mma or bjj practitioners and also beginners.
    Closter, NJ

    Alex kim
    Alex Kim

    This place makes you feel right at home no matter if you have been doing mma for 10 years or 10 minutes. Great coaches who watch you to make sure you are getting the moves. No egos, a high level training environment and legitimate mma and bjj practitioners and complete beginners like myself so you never stop learning and improving with each class.
    Dumont, NJ

    john then with his family before his mma class in westwood nj
    John Then

    My name is John Then. I'm a mental health worker in Bergen County. I came here because one of my friends trains here and he told me that I needed to check it out. I love this place. There are no egos. Everybody here helps each other out and the mma coaches really take their time with you until you get it right. Other places just throw you to the wolves. When I came in here I knew absolutely nothing about MMA or training mixed martial arts except from watching the UFC but Training Grounds Jiu-Jitsu & MMA soon became my family. You are going to want to come here because of the family and the tightness. It offers more than just the mma itself. The environment just brings everybody together. Training MMA is now something that I am addicted to and I am just going to keep going until I get my black belt.
    River Edge, NJ

    We all know not to go around picking fights. However, the unfortunate reality is that avoiding violence may not always be possible. When it comes to developing real-world self defense skills, MMA for self defense offers many benefits over other styles of martial arts training. Realistically, we cannot predict the circumstances of a self defense situation. We also cannot predict the skillset of the attacker. Nevertheless, there are certain attacks and positions that are universal to many hand-to-hand combat scenarios. MMA training does not cover every possible violent situation. However, the fundamental skills of MMA will give you the basic tools you need to defend yourself.
    The biggest benefits of MMA training for self defense are:
    • Inclusion of a wide range of unarmed techniques
    • Developing the skill set to deal with worst-case scenarios
    • Live sparring to apply the techniques under pressure
    Once you know MMA fundamentals, you have a foundation to expand your knowledge into additional training. Additionally, you can integrate MMA skillsets and mindset training. Proper training will help you avoid physical encounters and de-escalate before situations become violent. Further on, we will discuss some weaknesses in sport MMA training for self defense. We will also go over as well as some strategies for dealing with these weaknesses. This ensures your MMA skills apply to real-world encounters.

    Overview of MMA Skills for Self Defense

    Martial arts such as BJJ and Muay Thai have specific guidelines on illegal and legal techniques. On the other hand, MMA has a much broader range of skills and a looser ruleset. The typical rules in modern MMA competition still prohibit certain techniques such as eye-gouging, groin attacks, and biting. Luckily the types of attacks allowed still cover virtually every category of unarmed combat technique. Furthermore, MMA is unique in that it covers all ranges of hand to hand combat. From the outside kicking range through punching, clinching, and ground fighting – a skilled mixed martial artist will be comfortable fighting in any of these ranges.
    wo girls training bjj and performing the triangle choke
    The typical skillset in most MMA curriculums will include the following skills:
    1. Kicking techniques
    2. Punching techniques
    3. Knee and elbow strikes
    4. Grappling and striking in the clinch
    5. Grappling and clinching against a wall or fence
    6. Ground fighting using strikes and submissions
    In terms of self defense, you will need a subset from each of these categories to ensure you are adequately prepared for most self defense situations.

    Self Defense in Worst-Case Scenarios

    If you’ve done your research on self defense, you probably know that your first line of defense should be running away. Nevertheless, this begs the question: what if you are in a situation where you physically cannot escape? There are two main examples that illustrate this situation. Specifically, when your back is against a wall and when you have an attacker on top of you.

    Back Against the Wall

    Having your back pinned against a wall with your attacker in front of you is a dangerous proposition. Not only does this prevent you from running away, but it also allows your attacker to select the fighting range since you cannot create distance by backing up or using footwork. Furthermore, if the attacker is pushing against you, you are vulnerable to a number of devasting strikes such as knees and elbows that can put you out of commission if landed properly. Fortunately, MMA grappling has a variety of wrestling and clinching techniques designed to reverse this situation and regain position if you are pinned on the fence. Grappling against the fence is different than grappling in an open space, and must be trained as a separate, albeit related skillset. Understanding the dynamics of head positioning, under hooking, and pummeling techniques will allow you to not only survive and escape being pinned against a wall but can allow you to use the wall against your attacker and facilitate your escape. These skills are part-and-parcel of MMA fundamentals. Learning and drilling just a few basic techniques from this skillset will allow you to escape a situation that could otherwise cost you your life.

    An Attacker on Top of You

    While having your back against the wall is bad, having an attacker on top of you is arguably the worst possible position you could be in. Not only are you prohibited from running away, but you are also fighting the full mass of your opponent as well as the full force of gravity with virtually no ability to return fire. Being mounted or even in the bottom guard position leaves you fully vulnerable to devasting ground-and-pound attacks. If you are on a hard surface such as pavement, you are also liable to get your head slammed repeatedly into the floor, which can easily result in an untimely and brutal death.
    a girls bjj class in full swing as two girl practice a straight armlock
    Unfortunately, if you find yourself on your back in a fight, there is a good chance you are going to take some damage. Nevertheless, the basic MMA skills integrated from Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and wrestling will allow you to escape from a mounted position and stand up once you have recovered your guard. In fact, a skilled MMA practitioner can rapidly turn this situation around on the attacker if the attacker lands on them during the initial chaos of the fight. Furthermore, with a honed submission game, you have the option of attacking off your back. You can potentially end the fight from there. If you can recover guard and scramble to your feet, you will have a chance to escape. These are just two worst-case-scenarios that can occur during a fight. However, they are universal to nearly any physical encounter. You must have the skills to defend yourself and escape when pinned on the wall or floor.

    Live Sparring MMA for Self Defense

    While training techniques for self defense is great, all the shadowboxing, pad work, and drilling in the world will not be effective unless you can apply it against a live, resisting opponent. Live sparring is part-and-parcel of legitimate MMA training and will allow you to pressure-test the skills you have been drilling in a relatively safe and controlled environment. Additionally, the fact that you are training against a partner who is using realistic techniques means you will be ready for opponents who do not have a firm grasp of fighting skills. If you can defend against a trained opponent throwing efficient, effective attacks at you, you will be well-prepared to resist someone who does not know how to fight and is accustomed to dealing with untrained victims.
    The intensity of training that is typical in most MMA sparring will help you keep your head on straight under the pressure of physical violence. We have all heard the classic Mike Tyson quote - “everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth” – and it holds true across martial disciplines. Being able to respond effectively under real pressure is the key to making your MMA self defense technique work in a real situation.

    Downsides to MMA for Self Defense

    At NJ Training Grounds, we believe that MMA provides an effective set of real-world self defense skills that can prepare you for the realities of a fight. With that being said, there are a few downsides to training only MMA for self defense. Of course, we still think you should be training MMA. However, understanding the limitations of mixed martial arts training will allow you to better adapt the physical skills towards self defense situations.
    The main limitations of MMA training for self defense are the following:
    1. Lack of weapons training
    2. Does not address multiple attackers
    3. Not discussing legal ramifications of violent encounters
    4. Requires a mindset shift from competition to self defense

    Weapons Training

    MMA is the art of unarmed hand-to-hand combat. Unfortunately, weapons are a reality of physical violence. From firearms to blades and blunt instruments, there is a good chance you may have to deal with an armed attacker. However, this does not negate the need for knowledge in unarmed techniques. After all, you should know how to fight with the tools you and your opponent will have at your disposal. With a firm grasp of unarmed combat, you will be able to explore other forms of training and better integrate them into the skillset you already have. If you cannot fight someone who is unarmed, then you’re going to be even more screwed if they do have weapons. As such, we recommend branching out into some form of weapons training or simply being aware of the ranges and threats posed by guns, knives, and blunt force weapons. There is not enough time to master every conceivable weapon out there, but if you know how to handle yourself in an unarmed situation, you are leagues ahead of someone who does not.

    Multiple Attackers

    a bjj black belt going for a choke
    Another common criticism of MMA training for self defense is that it does not prepare you to deal with multiple attackers. Traditionally, MMA focuses on fighting a single opponent. The unfortunate reality is that even a skilled martial artist may be in trouble if faced with multiple determined attackers. The good news is that the skills you will learn in MMA apply to fundamental hand-to-hand combat. These include distance management, range, and being able to circle, move, and evade. Collectively these skills will allow you better mobility in a fight involving multiple attackers. In self defense, you must avoid getting surrounded. If you do not know how to manage distance against a single opponent, you’re pretty much done for if more than one guy comes at you.
    A self defense-oriented MMA program will include drills involving multiple attackers. In many cases, these drills will show you how important it is to avoid confrontation in the first place. Furthermore, you will realize that you are not likely to defeat more than one attacker in a fight. However, you will learn to see gaps in the opponents’ line, manage the distance under pressure, and work to find an escape route when faced with the prospect of a back-alley beatdown. Good movement and distance management principles are universal, and MMA curriculum can teach you these skills for a range of situations.

    Legal Ramifications of Violence

    It is far too common for self-defense training to focus heavily on the physical aspect. When training MMA for self-defense, you must understand the legal ramifications of violence. We would all like to believe that we are the obvious good guy in any situation. Unfortunately, when the cops show up at the scene, they may not see it this way. This is especially true if there are no witnesses or cameras showing the initial encounter. As such, beating a guy to a pulp or breaking his arm can quickly land you in jail. Even if he was the one instigating the fight, you can end up in legal trouble. As an informed citizen you must understand what you can and cannot do in a physical encounter. You must also how to deal with law enforcement after the fact. If your instructor does not cover this, you should familiarize yourself with local laws regarding self-defense. These laws vary state-to-state and country-to-country. Talk to law enforcement and look up the local codes. You might consider a discussion with a legal expert to understand when you have the right to use violence. A good lawyer can inform you of what to say when you are talking to first responders.

    Mindset Shift from Competition to Self Defense

    As a combat sport, MMA focuses on beating an opponent within a specific timeframe. The skills needed to achieve victory in an MMA fight apply to self defense. Nevertheless, it is vital that you adjust your mindset from competition to self defense. Unlike sanctioned cage-fighting, self defense is about escaping the situation with as little fighting as possible. This can mean turning around and running. However, it may require significant violence before you can safely exit the situation. In either case, you do not have time to ‘feel out’ your opponent as seen in professional MMA. You cannot overlook this mindset shift when training MMA for self defense. If you are a beginning MMA student, you are probably not getting into the nitty-gritty of competition MMA. Nevertheless, you should be working to integrate your new skills into the mindset needed for real-world self defense.

    MMA Training for Self Defense

    By now, you understand how training MMA can benefit you for learning self defense. Furthermore, you are familiar with some of the weaknesses of MMA training for self defense. You understand the need to compensate for these to ensure your skillset applies to real-life. Hopefully, we have convinced you of the benefits of MMA for self defense. If you are serious about protecting yourself, we recommend doing a trial MMA class as soon as possible!
    It’s no secret that most of us want to improve our physique. When it comes to getting in shape, you have many fitness options. Training MMA for a better physique is a fun and effective way to burn calories and get in shape. MMA training is not just about fighting. You will burn calories, build strength, and improve your physique when you dedicate yourself to an MMA program.

    What Does It Mean to Get a ‘Better Physique’

    MMA training for a better physique is somewhat ill-defined. When we think of a ‘good physique,’ what comes to mind? For men, this typically means being lean and muscular. Perhaps some definition in the biceps and abs, and a strong, solid frame. For women, you’ll generally hear the words ‘toned’ or ‘fit’ when discussing a ‘good physique.’ The truth is, when it comes to improving physique, men and women require essentially the same things. Specifically, burning fat and building muscle.
    Most people look better when they have more muscle on their frame and a lower body fat percentage. This doesn’t mean being a competitive bodybuilder or walking around at 5 percent body fat. However, if you personally are looking to improve your physique, burning some fat and building some muscle are your top priorities. Of course, it is not all about vanity. Ultimately, our bodies will age, and regardless of how shredded we are in our twenties and thirties, we will not maintain that physique forever. That said, looking good at an older age and ‘aging gracefully’ requires a long-term commitment to healthy living. No matter your age, increasing your lean body mass through exercise and diet will improve your physique. In the end, a healthy body and physique lead to a longer, healthier lifespan.

    How Does MMA Training Improve Your Physique?

    MMA training for a better physique is an excellent strategy to reach your fitness goals. MMA training incorporates many different aspects of fitness training that collectively improve physique. The following breakdown discusses the ways MMA training helps you attain the physique you want.

    MMA Burns Calories to Help You Lose Fat

    MMA training is physically intense. Your heart rate elevates for most of the training session. You will sweat and be out of breath. The intensity of the training results in a significant calorie burn over the course of just a single training session. With an hour of MMA training, you can potentially burn upwards of 500-1000 calories, depending on the overall intensity. This intense MMA training helps you better your physique by burning serious calories. To lose a pound of body fat, you must burn a net 3,500 calories. If you are overweight and add MMA training to your life, you can potentially lose a pound of fat per week with just 3-5 MMA sessions, without having to eat less. We do recommend a healthy diet and portion control as well. When you combine healthy eating with a commitment to MMA training, you will have a hard time not burning fat!

    MMA Strength Training Helps You Build Muscle

    MMA programs typically incorporate some form of strength training. Depending on your previous experience in the gym, getting stronger goes hand-in-hand with building muscle. MMA training is not going to turn you into a professional bodybuilder. However, in conjunction with learning fighting skills, MMA strength training gives you that muscle-building boost to reach your physique goals. When you combine the strength aspects of MMA training with the calorie burn and intensity – you will rapidly see a better physique when you look in the mirror. Additionally, the muscle you build through your training will burn more calories at rest. It takes fuel to maintain muscle. The extra lean mass on your frame means that you are burning more even when not training. It really is a win-win in terms of getting a better physique from MMA training.

    MMA Training Promotes a Healthy Lifestyle

    two young women in a girls mma class at training grounds practicing an armbar
    Let us face it. Without an overall healthy lifestyle, you will doom your attempts at a better physique. The good news is MMA training promotes a healthy lifestyle overall. If you are eating unhealthy throughout the day, you will feel it in training. If you are smoking, drinking too much alcohol, or not giving yourself time to sleep, you will know it during MMA practice. Often, the medical consequences of unhealthy living don’t show up right away. Some people can get away with bad habits for years before seeing the damage they’ve wrecked on their body.
    We get it. Good habits are hard to maintain if your only motivation is the far-off goal of ‘losing weight’ or ‘getting healthier.’ However, this is not the case if you are training MMA. The intensity of MMA provides immediate feedback on whether you are taking care of yourself. If you ate too much unhealthy food at lunch, your practice will suck (you might even puke). Did you stay up all night drinking? You will pay for it when you train. Once you have fully committed to the MMA training, most of those activities will become less appealing. Even if your motivation for healthy living is to feel better at MMA practice, this will pay off. Ultimately, the innate promotion of a healthy lifestyle furthers the ability of MMA to give you a better physique.

    What Does MMA Training for Better Physique Involve?

    MMA training involves several activities that collectively provide a great avenue to improve your physique. In terms of technique, MMA combines striking and grappling to give you the tools to fight at any range. MMA training also involves strength and conditioning to adapt your body to the intensity of training. Collectively, these activities give you a great full-body workout that rapidly helps you achieve a better physique.

    MMA Striking

    Striking in MMA combines the best techniques from boxing and Muay Thai kickboxing that allow you to attack and defend punches and kicks. MMA curriculum bases the techniques on what works under MMA rulesets. This means you will focus more on fundamentals from each art than the nitty-gritty stuff that you might do in an individual art. You will learn the best punching techniques from boxing and the best kicking, knee, and clinch techniques from Muay Thai.
    Overall, MMA striking trains the core, upper body, and lower body together. True speed and power come from coordination between these muscles. When you see a professional fighter effortlessly throwing knockout blows, the force comes from the hips, legs, and core transmitted through the upper body. These techniques help you get a lean, shredded core as you develop these muscles and burn body fat.

    MMA Grappling

    two men at an mma gym practicing a technique
    MMA incorporates the most effective grappling techniques to give you takedown, ground position, and submission options. The main grappling techniques in MMA come from BJJ and wrestling. Clinches, throws, and finishes from Judo and Sambo are also very effective in MMA. These martial arts are physically strenuous and require immense amounts of strength and endurance. The grappling in MMA helps you develop a better physique as you learn, drill, and spar with the techniques.
    MMA grappling is essentially its own art form. MMA grappling includes punches and the use of the cage wall grappling. This necessitates an urgency in the techniques that you will not find in most traditional BJJ training. When you are on your back in MMA, your opponent can smash your face with punches. As such, you do not have the luxury of time to slowly set up a sweep or submission. You must learn to react quickly and explosively. This increase in movement speed leads to more muscular development and calorie burn than traditional grappling. In the end, this makes the grappling in MMA better for physique improvements.
    If this sounds too intense for you, do not worry. In training, your partners are not going to try to knock you out with a ground and pound. However, even light touches to the face increase the urgency of technique execution. Unless you plan to compete, you are not going to risk a major concussion. However, you will still reap the benefits of MMA for a better physique. Of course, training BJJ and other grappling arts on their own is still recommended to be a good MMA grappler. But when you add the MMA aspect of training, the fitness benefits increase exponentially.

    MMA Strength Training

    The drilling and sparring in MMA is great cardio and helps with strength as well. However, most MMA programs supplement the MMA specific technique with strength training. This includes circuit and interval training and possibly traditional weight training as well. When you add this strength training, you stimulate muscle growth and development.
    two men at an mma gym practicing a technique
    As we mentioned MMA strength training betters your physique in several ways. First of all, muscle growth will help you build a more solid, impressive physique. Additionally, muscle fibers require more energy to sustain. This helps you burn more calories overall which is a boost for losing body fat. Finally, the strength you gain will improve your work capacity overall. You are able to train at higher intensities when you are stronger and in better shape. The increased intensity means further calorie burn during MMA practice itself. Burning more calories makes your fat loss become easier, quicker, and more sustainable long-term. Strength training is a must for a better physique. Luckily, most good MMA programs will include this in their training. It may be a separate class or included during regular MMA practice. In either case, this training is indispensable for developing a better physique from MMA.

    How Long Will It Take for MMA to Better My Physique?

    Since we are being honest, improving physique is truly a long-term process. For any sustainable better physique, you have to fully commit to training over time. Most programs will advertise a quick turnaround for a better physique. Do not get us wrong, you will see progress within several months. However, depending on your current fitness level, it may take six months to a year to fully see major changes in your physique. If this seems like a long time, we want you to think carefully. The months, years, and decades are going by whether you start training or not. The question is not whether six months to a year is ‘too long.’
    Instead, ask yourself this: ‘where do I want my health and physique to be in six months to a year?’ Unless your answer is ‘exactly how it is now,’ then you should realize that a year is not a long time. In fact, most martial artists really begin hitting their stride in 1-2 years. The training and habits you develop in MMA will last a lifetime. MMA training for a better physique is an investment in yourself, your confidence, and your future. Do you really want to live a life of physical laziness simply because change does not happen overnight? Are you willing to never pursue improvement because it actually requires a serious commitment? If you answer yes to the above questions, perhaps MMA training is not the right choice for you. However, if you truly want to better your physique, build real skills, and change your life, you cannot afford to put off training. The sooner you start, the sooner the improvement clock begins. Once you light the fire of self-improvement through MMA, it will grow into a roaring blaze.

    Start Training MMA Today for a Better Physique!

    Martial arts is truly a life-changing pursuit. Most people overestimate what they can do in a short time, but underestimate what is possible over a longer time. Do not get caught up in short-term pursuits. Prepare to commit, and before you know it, you will see the results you are looking for. Do you want to know the best part about MMA and martial arts? It is never boring. Unlike traditional group fitness, the skills in martial arts build on themselves over time. You will start by learning the basics. However, within a few months to a year, you will be able to execute new physical skills and express increased physical strength. Of course, as we’ve discussed, the MMA training will lead to a better physique as well. With all of that in mind, what are you waiting for? Start a trial MMA program today and begin your journey towards your dream physique!
    We all know the deadly consequences of stress. In today’s hectic world, none of us are immune to the effects of being constantly stressed out. Fortunately, martial arts offer an amazing solution for stress relief. MMA training for stress relief is a multi-pronged approach that relieves stress through several mechanisms.

    What is Stress?

    Depending on who you ask, you will get a different definition for the word ‘stress.’ In terms of mental stress, Webster defines stress as: a physical, chemical, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension and may be a factor in disease causation” We intuitively understand what it means to be stressed out: You have got so much on your mind that you cannot think straight. You feel anxious. Your cortisol levels are through the roof and your sleep is a disaster. It is all bad news. Psychological stress has real physical consequences. It affects your decision-making abilities. It affects your relationship with friends and family. Worst-of-all, stress increases your mortality risks. You read that right. Stress can literally kill you.
    Luckily, there are numerous options for taking charge of your mental health and stopping stress in its sneaky tracks. We passionately believe that martial arts and MMA training for stress relief is a one-stop-shop solution for knocking out the stress in your life (pun intended). By the time you are finished with this article, you’ll be convinced you should start training MMA to relieve your stress. In fact, you will probably sign up today.

    What is Mixed Martial Arts (MMA)?

    Mixed martial arts is a system that takes the most practical methods of winning fights and combines them into an effective and efficient style. MMA takes the best of wrestling, boxing, BJJ, and Muay Thai to give you the skills you need for victory in cage fighting. If you don’t plan to actually fight – that’s okay. The technical skills, physical fitness, and mental fortitude you develop from MMA training will carry over into all aspects of life. Especially when it comes to relieving stress.
    a strong guy laughing during his bjj class

    How is MMA Good for Stress Relief?

    MMA training isn’t just about beating people up. The components that develop a great fighter help everyone become more effective in life. These benefits of MMA extend to stress relief. MMA provides a positive outlet for stress relief in several major ways.

    #1 – Intense Physical Training

    Exercise is well-known for being a great stress reliever. A leisurely stroll through the park does wonders for helping deal with the emotional rollercoaster of life… right? Well… maybe. But you really need intense physical exercise – the kind where you’re out of breath, sweating like crazy, and feeling the post-exercise buzz for hours –to maximize stress relief. If you have done any MMA training in the past, you can attest that an MMA class hits the mark. MMA is incredibly physically demanding and will push you to your limits. Your strength and cardio will be tested. You will be sweating profusely. Best of all, the endorphins you get from the physical push will keep you satiated for the rest of the day. When your head hits the pillow, you’ll be ready to sleep.

    #2 – Temporary Escape from Every Life

    Life can be difficult. Even for those of us who have it good, the day to day grind of work, chores, errands, and tending to the emotional needs of our loved ones can be… well… stressful. MMA for stress relief is great for providing a short-term escape from the daily grind. It’s obviously unhealthy to spend too much time running away from life’s problems. That said, positive temporary escapes from everyday life are extremely beneficial for improving overall well-being. If you are burnt-out during your regular life, you will ultimately become ineffective.
    Furthermore, stress levels continually rise if you never get a respite from the grind. MMA training provides this positive mental and physical escape from everyday reality. Assuming you are not training for a professional fight, your time in the MMA gym is quite different from the demands of your day-to-day life. When you are training MMA, you are entirely in the moment. Nothing else matters for the hour or two you spend at the gym. In fact, with the intensity of MMA training, you’d be hard-pressed to try to think about the rest of your day. Once the class is over, you can go home, shower, feel refreshed, and return to your responsibilities. The sense of release, relief, and temporary escape that MMA training provides does wonders for your mental health. Ultimately, that translates to you being happier, healthier, and more effective throughout the rest of your life.

    #3 – Building Real-World Skills

    Even if you do not plan to compete in MMA, the skills you will develop in MMA training are real. You are learning the physical movements needed to win a fight. Ultimately, developing demonstrable skills outside of your professional development does wonders for your confidence and well-being. It is not just about beating people up. You will develop the skills to defend yourself. If you desire, you will be able to spar and engage with your training partners in a unique way compared to normal social interaction. Learning physical motor skills with progression and real-world application is innately satisfying for humans. After just a year or two of training, you will start having something real to show for your efforts. Compared to armchair quarterbacking Monday night football, you can be proud of the way you have spent your ‘leisure’ time (not that we have anything against football).

    #4 – A Sense of Community Beyond Your Professional Life

    One of the most difficult aspects of socializing among professional peers is the need to be ‘on’ at all times. When you go to the MMA gym, you can hang up your suit and tie, tool belt, or whatever tools of the trade you carry. Everything from day to day life gets left at the door. Inside the gym, you are an entirely different person. You do not have to impress your professional colleagues or hold it together for your family. You can simply enjoy the community and camaraderie that comes with hard physical training. If you stick with training long enough, you develop relationships with your training partners. Eventually, these relationships offer an entirely new social outlet that is far less stressful than socializing with traditional acquaintances. As you develop the skillset and demonstrate discipline and adherence to training, you earn respect at the gym as well. Even if you are not a competitive fighter, people in the martial arts community respect the work ethic and unique grind of MMA training. Having respect from a quality social group is amazing for your self-esteem, sense of well-being, and stress relief.

    #5 – Release of Aggression

    If we do not effectively manage our stress it can manifest as outward aggression towards friends, colleagues, or family. This is always bad news. You do not want to be known as the guy or gal with a temper. You certainly do not want to be considered emotionally unreliable. We have all had the experience of ‘walking on eggshells’ around somebody with a known temper problem. You absolutely cannot be that person if you want long-term success in your interpersonal relationships. Furthermore, we have all heard the stories of successful CEOs with known bad tempers. You might succeed professionally despite an anger issue. Nevertheless, your professional life is still better off if you are easy to work with and communicate. MMA training is an excellent way to release pent up aggression that can affect your personal and professional life. The stress relief from hitting pads in MMA releases anger and aggression. Additionally, drilling punches, kicks, and takedowns – and even live sparring – further dissolves any pent-up anger from your daily life.

    The Limits of MMA for Stress Relief

    an instructor teaching how to pass the guard in bjj
    Look, as martial artists, we are a practical-minded group of people. We have been touting the benefits of MMA training for stress relief. These benefits are a feature of MMA training. However, this does not mean you do not need other strategies for managing stress.

    Holistic Approaches to Stress Management

    Stress management is a holistic process that requires daily, even hourly methods for success. You need other practices such as mediation, healthy eating, and work-life balance for reliable stress relief. Of course, acute stress is sometimes beneficial. If you have a deadline you need to bust out, that extra adrenaline can be helpful.

    Chronically Elevated Cortisol

    However, chronically elevated cortisol is a problem. Cortisol is a hormone released in times of stress and has serious effects on the systems in your body. It downregulates your immune function, increases the breakdown of muscle tissue, and decreases your metabolism. These are just a few of the effects of cortisol. MMA for stress relief addresses elevated cortisol in several ways. There is a benefit to cortisol in the short-term. From an evolutionary perspective, when faced with a predator or potential food shortage, your body cannot waste energy on these processes. The acute effects of cortisol are vital in certain situations. The biggest issue stems from chronic elevations of cortisol. If your immune system is always suppressed, you are more susceptible to illness. Getting sick reduces your ability to work and provide for your family. On the more extreme end, immune suppression can lead to more serious health problems, especially if you come down with a serious illness. In terms of metabolic health, breakdown of muscle tissue and metabolism suppression leads to fat gain and muscle loss over time. Muscle loss and fat gain bring a host of additional health problems that will only enhance your stress levels.

    MMA, Healthy Eating, and Stress Relief

    MMA plays a crucial role in holistic stress management. If you couple that with mental training through meditation or other practices, you will keep stress at bay. Furthermore, the MMA subculture values healthy eating and a positive lifestyle – furthering its overall benefits on stress relief. Often, office and job site culture does not promote healthy habits. You may be provided with unhealthy food or tempted to eat out with coworkers at lunch. Furthermore, people often wind-down their day with drinks at the bar and sedentary hobbies after work. Collectively, these habits magnify stress levels and contribute to poor health outcomes. There’s nothing wrong with a burger, fries, and drink or two here and there. However, habitually intake of these foods and alcohol is terrible for you.
    a shot from the back as a group of females watch the bjj class
    On the flip side, if you are spending just 2 or 3 nights per week training MMA, you will be less tempted to eat nasty foods and drink alcohol. For one thing, the intake of these substances before practice makes you train and feel like garbage during MMA drills, sparring, and intense exercise. After practice, you will likely find yourself wanting to fuel up and recover with nutrient-dense, healthy foods to maximize the benefits of your training. Once again, the subculture of MMA does promote an overall healthy lifestyle that does wonders for long-term stress relief and management.

    The Best MMA Gyms for Stress Relief

    With a rapidly growing number of MMA gyms, you may be left wondering where you should train. Ultimately, a qualified MMA instructor and a positive community are the most important things to look for in your MMA gym. When it comes to MMA for stress relief, you want a gym that reduces stress, rather than adds to it. You might need to try a few gyms before you find one that vibes with you. Most MMA gyms will give you a trial week or at least a few classes. If you like the vibe at the gym, it's probably a good fit. You will quickly sense whether or not the gym will be a positive environment.
    a shot from the back of a man watching a bjj class
    Starting martial arts can be intimidating. The staff and instructors should make you feel welcome. If the gym is truly a positive community, you should not have anyone trying to hurt you. The best MMA gyms have a subculture of positivity that extends to the regular members and weeds out ‘bad apples.’ If you do pick an MMA gym that does not feel right over time, don’t be afraid to find a new one. With all of that said, start a trial class today and begin your journey towards a stress-free life!
    Training MMA is an excellent way to pursue the goal of mastering martial arts. Before we begin, we want to make something clear. There truly is no point at which someone can claim to have ‘fully mastered martial arts.’ The process of training, learning, and competing in martial arts is a never-ending journey. Additionally, training any single martial arts skill comes at the cost of training less from another martial art. With that disclaimer out of the way, MMA training remains one of the best ways to pursue a well-rounded mastery of martial arts. Overall, MMA gives you the tools you need to fight in a wide variety of unarmed hand-to-hand fighting scenarios. We all pursue martial arts for various reasons. However, any martial arts style should fundamentally be about some form of combat.

    What Does It Mean to Master Martial Arts?

    two young men trying to master martial arts by practicing BJJ
    The definition of martial arts mastery is nebulous. Thanks to martial arts movies and popular lore, we often envision the humble, frail master in his remote temple. Despite his age, he has nearly supernatural powers. He can beat younger tough guys with ease. Furthermore, despite not raising a family, living as a hermit, and being relatively outside of society, he somehow has deeper wisdom and insight on human existence. This ‘martial arts master myth’ is exactly that: a myth.

    The Reality of Martial Arts Mastery

    Martial arts masters are men and women raising families, working careers, and juggling training, competition, and life. They are not indestructible Gods. They are flawed humans just like the rest of us with earthly concerns, needs, and desires.

    The Types of Martial Arts Masters

    Mastery of martial arts is difficult to define. Ultimately, it is a subjective description. For competitive martial artists, mastery might include being a world-champion. On the other hand, many ‘ordinary’ martial artists have put the time in to earn the title ‘master.’ They may not be elite competitors nor is their primary income driven by martial arts. However, they still have the knowledge and skill to defend themselves against serious threats. For this type of martial arts master, part of their journey involves learning to juggle their training with their responsibilities to family and career. In many ways, the ‘ordinary’ martial arts masters must make more sacrifices than elite competitors who are paid to train and compete. Despite the former not being world-champions themselves, you cannot deny their skill, knowledge, and wisdom.

    MMA Coaches vs Athletes

    On a similar note, the best MMA coaches on the planet would likely lose in a fight with their top athletes. Even when the coaches were in their prime, the MMA game has evolved to the point where an entry-level pro would potentially beat a UFC titleholder from two decades ago. Does that mean the athletes are masters compared to the coaches? Not necessarily. Coaching top athletes often requires more dedication than being an athlete. Sure, the physical aspect may be less intense. However, the intellectual, emotional, and spiritual dedication to their athletes is more demanding than the grind of training itself.

    The Local MMA Gym Owner

    Finally, consider your local MMA gym owner. Maybe they are not a world-renowned competitor. They may be average in skill compared to other black belts. However, they have put it all into opening and running their gym. They have combined technical skill, leadership, and business to provide value to the community through martial arts classes available for everyone. This individual may not be a world-champion competitor nor a coach of elite athletes. Nevertheless, none of us would deny they have earned the title of ‘master’ on their own terms. The point of these examples is to illustrate the varying definitions of martial arts masters. There is no one definition of mastery when it comes to martial arts. The common denominator in all these cases is a dedication to the path of training. This path looks different for everyone. However, we all can become our own version of martial arts masters through discipline and the pursuit of skill and development in MMA or whatever art we choose.

    Why Does MMA Lead to Mastering Martial Arts?

    MMA is a fighting style that utilizes combinations of techniques and strategies from many different styles. In the modern sporting context, MMA is about as close as it gets to a ‘no rules’ fight. Although the rulesets limit certain techniques, a wide range of martial arts can be used to win MMA fights. Given that MMA allows a variety of techniques, it gives you the opportunity to train and master the most effective techniques from many different martial arts.

    How is MMA Different Than Individual Martial Arts?

    The individual rulesets of each martial art will prohibit certain techniques. In the case of the main arts integrated into MMA, BJJ prohibits striking, wrestling prohibits striking and submissions, and Muay Thai prohibits ground fighting. This means that certain aspects of hand-to-hand combat are entirely neglected while training these arts. Additionally, the limited rulesets within individual arts make techniques and strategies effective in those rulesets that would not otherwise be recommended in an MMA fight. For example, the traditional stances in Muay Thai are not as effective for stopping takedowns. On the other hand, the heavy-footed, forward-leaning stance in wrestling leaves you open for devastating strikes.
    In BJJ, certain guard positions are not optimal for defending against ground-and-pound attacks. The good news is that all these arts have skills that are effective and necessary for MMA. A skilled mixed martial artist will master the most useful techniques into a unique game plan. The beauty of MMA is that there is no one style or list of techniques that is right for everyone. It is up to each MMA artist to develop their own game they can impose on other fighters.

    What Martial Arts Skills Should I Train for MMA?

    students watching their jiu jitsu instructor teach
    MMA is an incredibly unique sport and martial art in itself. Even defining MMA as the ‘best techniques from all martial arts’ is tenuous. Most mixed martial artists have a game plan that revolves around mastering certain martial arts techniques and defending against weak points. For example, a BJJ based MMA game plan will require mastery of a few takedowns and submission paths. Will you need striking? Of course. But the purpose of your striking will be geared towards setting up your takedowns and avoiding getting knocked out yourself.
    On the other hand, a striking based MMA game plan will focus the grappling component on takedown and submission defense. Strikes will be geared towards knockouts or causing serious damage to the opponent. In this game plan, you must be able to defend against submissions and takedowns. You will spend more of your grappling time focused on the nuances of defense, rather than details needed to finish chokes. At the highest level of MMA, most fighters will be more than proficient at the various arts. Even a ‘striker’ is likely to have at least high-blue to purple belt knowledge of BJJ. An MMA submission artist likely has the striking skills of an amateur boxer or Muay Thai fighter. For practical MMA for mastering martial arts, you need a fundamental grasp of striking, wrestling, and BJJ or submission grappling. From there, you can dive deeper into the nuances of an MMA game plan.

    How Long Does It Take to Master Martial Arts?

    Mastering martial arts requires a lifelong commitment to training, learning, and competition. There are not a ton of people on Earth who can truly claim to be ‘martial arts masters.’

    The Problem of Age

    One of the paradoxes of martial arts training is that it takes time to develop the knowledge and technique. As such, the biological reality of aging becomes relevant when we discuss the timeframe for mastering martial arts. While you can certainly be a great martial artist later in life, your athletic ability begins to decline. People disagree on the specific age at which your body starts to ‘break down.’ Lifestyle, recovery, and training methods also influence the beginning of physical decline. Overall, most people familiar with martial arts will peg the beginning of athletic decline as sometime in your mid-to-late thirties. This is one of the biggest reasons why most phenomenally successful competitive martial artists start at a young age. By the time they reach athletic prime in their late twenties, they have significant technique and experience to fully utilize the strength, speed, and endurance of youth. A person who began training in their twenties (as opposed to childhood) may have commensurate knowledge in their 40s, but they will not have the athletic ability of a 25-year-old.

    Why You Should Train MMA Regardless of Age

    Regardless of your age, you should not be discouraged from the pursuit of mastering martial arts through MMA training. The process of training and improvement is more important than the end goal of ‘mastery.’ By the time you have a few years under your belt, you will be amazed by the growth and development. Furthermore, your skills will still be effective compared to not training at all. Many people never begin developing skillsets because they do not think they will ever be top performers. Ultimately, this is a self-fulfilling prophecy. The result is no skill whatsoever. Someone starting martial arts in their 20s or 30s will become a black belt in their 40s with consistent dedication. They may never be an elite competitor. But guess what? Compared to the person who never started at all, they have vast amounts of skill, knowledge, and wisdom that they otherwise would not.

    Do You Have to Compete to Master Martial Arts?

    Competition requirements for martial arts mastery is an entire topic in-of-itself. Realistically, it is unlikely that you will achieve mastery without ever stepping foot into competition. The ability to deal with nerves, perform under pressure, and face someone in your demographic at 100 percent intensity is an integral part of development as a martial artist. There are certainly exceptions. For example, combat veterans who have been in life-and-death situations have a specific deeper insight into martial arts than even the most experienced competitor. Furthermore, there may be individuals who have never competed but have put in enough time and skill development to earn a black belt.
    However, competition is truly part-and-parcel of the complete martial arts experience. If your goal is true mastery of martial arts, we highly recommend preparing for and competing in at least a few tournaments at each level. The good news is martial arts competition is a more realistic goal for the average individual than you might think. You will certainly have to put more time and effort in to be as prepared as possible, but if your goal is mastery of the martial art, this should excite you.

    How Do I Start MMA for Mastering Martial Arts?

    a jiu jitsu instructor teaching a guard pass
    If you have decided to pursue training MMA for mastering martial arts, the first step is to find a gym and start training. You should ideally find somewhere that has beginner’s MMA classes. The coach should have some experience coaching MMA fighters at the amateur level, if not professional. While you should feel welcome at the gym, unless you sign up for private lessons, do not expect constant 1-on-1 attention right away. The burnout rate is high in MMA, and coaches and other athletes will want you to demonstrate your commitment to training before they invest a ton of time into your development.
    Within a few months, you will have a better idea of whether MMA for mastering martial arts is truly your goal. You will figure out how much commitment you are willing to give as well as if you might one day compete. From there, embracing the grind and long-term discipline will slowly but surely carry you forward on the path to martial arts mastery. Your journey will have ups-and-downs. You will get injured, emotionally defeated, excited, and rewarded. You will grow as a martial artist and a person. No one can tell you ahead of time exactly what your journey will look like. The bottom line is this: the sooner you start training MMA, the sooner you will be on your journey towards mastering martial arts.

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    Wil Horneff